School staff willing to train and administer Epi

Posted on: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 9:24am
MDGCPA's picture
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I am looking for as much info as I can get. I have a 9yo in 3rd grade in the public school system in NY. We are now in the process of upgrading from just a health care plan to finally implimenting a 504 plan. This is coming about out of sheer frustration.

The bulk of our frustration comes from the elementary school teachers. Their union has instructed them NOT to train or in any way handle anything to do with an epi-pen. They have taken the stand that it is the responsibilty of the nurse and the principal only. While we have always wished that the teachers would be more proactive with DS, we have accepted this, what choice have we really had? Now he is of the age to start attending clubs before and after school, and of course the nurse is not in yet or leaves at the end of the "official" end of intruction day. The principal gets in just before the day begins, and usually stays late. If it's an after school club, I have to contact the principal to see if she will be there, otherwise I have him come home and miss the club. There is no one else willing to take the responsibilty for the epi, in case of cross-comtamination.

He was just put into a music class before school at the request of the music teacher, and the only compromise we were able to come up with at this point is, I drop him off at the door, and wait in the driveway (Unbeknownst to my DS), until the principal arrives in the am. This is going to get ridiculus, as next year there are many more "clubs" that are available. I'm caught in the balance of safety versus normal opportunity. Hence the discussion for a 504 to force them , hopefully, to accept that they have to provide for his health issues for all activities offered to everyone, including extracurricular clubs. We are talkinh enrichment clubs, like a science enrichment or a math enrichment, computer club, etc. To me these are academic enrichment opoortunities, and he can not be denied access. Their stand is leaning towards they are not denying access, they just can't guarantee safety, and It's up to me if I leave him or pull him, therefore not discrimination! Nasty HUH???

We are working with the administration, which is trying to come up with a "life threatening food allergy plan", but so far the policy is very vague, and they seem more interested in limiting their liability than in doing what's BEST for the students affected.

My first question to all of you is who in your schools are trained and take reaponsibilty for epi pen? Are teachers taking the training? Are the epipens kept in the nurses office only, or in classroom as well?

My second set of questions...for those of you with elementary school age children, does the school provide health coverage for before and after school clubs? How? Was this built into your 504? I spoke with our principal, who has very little experience with 504's, but she said the few she has in the building all restrict themselves to "normal" school hours only. Silent to extracurricular. I wonder if it's because no one has asked the questions before.

I know this is a very long post, but I'm desperate for info...need to figure out how I'm going to proceed.

Thanks for any and all info!!!

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Marcy
DS - 9 P/TNA
DD - 13 Bee sting

Posted on: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 10:01am
Carefulmom's picture
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My dd is 11 in 6th grade which is middle school here (Los Angeles). She has a 504. In elementary school, every single employee was trained on the epipen: every teacher in the whole school, every aide, all the office staff, even the janitor. She did have access to after school programs. The law says that a 504 must cover after school programs. I am sure of this. Also, the part about they are not denying your son access but they are refusing to keep him safe: that is denying him access. That is what denying access is: making it impossible for him to attend safely. That is what your school is doing. Dd is now in middle school and once again every teacher is trained. I am not sure if every employee is. Truthfully I never bothered to ask. If every teacher is trained, that is good enough for me.
I know you are new, but there is someone named Rhonda who helps people with 504s. If you do a search on this board, probably on the School section, you will find her contact info. She is really hepful. I never had to use her.

Posted on: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 10:07am
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

We too are going through the 504 process with our school here in NY (they are WRETCHED). My e- mail is in my profile, I may be able to direct you to a few contacts (lawyers/advocates), not sure where exactly you are in relation to me or exactly what you are looking for. The school HAS TO provide a FAPE, and if that requires related medical services, it HAS to be done. If you e-mail me through my profile, I'll send you my phone number as answering things thoroughly on here can get quite lengthy.
Wendy

Posted on: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 10:21am
Gail W's picture
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Joined: 12/06/2001 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by MDGCPA:
[b]Their stand is leaning towards they are not denying access, they just can't guarantee safety, and It's up to me if I leave him or pull him, therefore not discrimination! Nasty HUH???[/b]
I've been through this. The old "it's optional" obstacle. I agree with hblmom and Carefulmom. They *are* denying you access because they aren't providing your child with the accommodations necessary for him to access the program.
Quote:Originally posted by MDGCPA:
[b]My first question to all of you is who in your schools are trained and take reaponsibilty for epi pen? Are teachers taking the training? Are the epipens kept in the nurses office only, or in classroom as well?[/b]
All elementary staff were trained including the teachers, aides, secretaries, etc. At that time, school board policy prohibitted children from carrying any medication. Epi-pens were in the classrooms (4), principal's office, secretary's desk, nurse's office, and cafeteria.
Now at the Middle School, there is an epi-pen in each classroom (8), the nurse's office, the front office, and in 9 'trauma kits' located throughout the building. *All* staff are trained.
Quote:Originally posted by MDGCPA:
[b]My second set of questions...for those of you with elementary school age children, does the school provide health coverage for before and after school clubs? How? Was this built into your 504? I spoke with our principal, who has very little experience with 504's, but she said the few she has in the building all restrict themselves to "normal" school hours only. Silent to extracurricular. I wonder if it's because no one has asked the questions before.[/b]
We were told pretty much the same as you. Can't tell you how many hours I sat in the hallway or in my van. So I consulted OCR and got a written response via e-mail that was very clear that the accommodations are required for any and all programs offered by the school. [b] Including extracurricular. [/b] I'll see if I can dig up that e-mail over the weekend and post it.
It was written in our 504 plan was that the school nurse met with the teacher of the club (or whatever) and reviewed the 504 plan. The nurse enforced that there could be no food (period), provided an epi-pen (that the person returned to the principal after the class), and documented training by use of a checklist that the teacher/provider and the nurse both signed.
[This message has been edited by Gail W (edited February 16, 2007).]

Posted on: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 10:36am
Carefulmom's picture
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Joined: 01/03/2002 - 09:00

Sorry, I did not answer where the epipens are.
Elementary school: one in the classroom, one in the cafeteria, one in the office, one in the after care. Around 4th grade she started going to the library after school, so we added one in the library. She also started carrying her own in the middle of 4th grade, somewhere around age 9 1/2-9 3/4. She knew how to self administer by then.
Middle school: one in the nurses office, one in each classroom except for one that is right near the nurses office, one in her backpack, and an epibelt for PE. The kids don`t eat in the caf; they eat outside at her school, even if they buy their food in the caf. Her backpack is always with her.
[This message has been edited by Carefulmom (edited February 16, 2007).]

Posted on: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 10:39am
Gail W's picture
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linking: [url="http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/001824.html"]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/001824.html[/url] The letter from OCR is in the middle of page 2.
[This message has been edited by Gail W (edited February 16, 2007).]

Posted on: Sat, 02/17/2007 - 11:03am
mia1964's picture
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Joined: 02/17/2007 - 09:00

Call your state department of education and see what they say about that. Ask if they would be willing to call the school and help with the situation...they may be of help.

Posted on: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 11:40am
MDGCPA's picture
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Joined: 02/03/2007 - 09:00

[quote]Originally posted by Gail W:
[B]linking: [url="http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/001824.html"]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/001824.html[/url] The letter from OCR is in the middle of page 2.
Thanks for your speedy reply. I read the entire thread, with tears in my eye. Nice to know others have fought this specific fight and come out with what they need! I've decided to email a direct request to OCR for clarification of the law with regard to our specific situation. They have said they will not ever exclude him from any extracurricular, but they have a problem with providing someone on staff willing to administer the epipen in an emergency. They are checking with their attorney as to what "reasonable" effort is, and indicated that just calling 911 might be sufficient, and anything beyond that is not discrimination.
In our state(NY), the Dept of Educ states that teachers can be requested to train and administer, but it can not be demanded of them. In our Elementary building we have a major issue with the staff absolutely refusing to deal with epipens. They have been instructed by their union to refuse. The only personnel in our building of approx 50 staff, is the principal and school nurse, that's it! We have tried appealing to the staff, the principal and nurse have tried to push as well. We explained "good sam laws", and still they refuse. They think by refusing training and acceptance of responsibilty that they are somehow limiting their liability. I don't believe they can limit it in that way, if anything I think they are at more risk of a lawsuit by refusing to take action. In NY, the state does not even require a school nurse, this is at the districts option. And their contract only covers "normal" hours of operation, not the additional 1 - 1.5 hours of ceverage for extracurricular activities. The next problem, arises when the nurse is absent. They have a sub list, but not always someone available. Then there is no nurse for the day. The principal picks up the slack.
We have spoken with the Director of Pupil Services (she happens to have a LF Seafood allergy), and she is completely on our side. She is baffled by the teachers refusal as well, and is making it a mission to scour case law to try and remedy the situation. That is why we are now formalizing with a 504, to try and push with the staff.
Thanks for letting me rant...it's great to know everyone understands!
------------------
--------------
Marcy
DS - 9 P/TNA
DD - 13 Bee sting

Posted on: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 12:28pm
Carefulmom's picture
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This case has already been filed and settled. It was regarding a preschool called La Petite, and it was over this very issue. The director said they would allow the child to go, but that if the child had a reaction the school would call 911 and do nothing else. There was a large settlement awarded to the family due to this. The Justice Department has information on it. Maybe someone can post a link. Your school is wrong, wrong, wrong. When I was looking at preschool back in 1998, I had a preschool here in Los Angeles tell me the same thing. I immediately got an attorney who wrote the school a letter and spoke with the school`s attorney. My attorney convinced the school`s attorney that he was wrong. This is so illegal!!! By refusing to give the epi, they are denying him access!! It is a cop-out for them to say they are not. I would get an attorney if I were you. All it should take is one letter. Actually even easier, I would do a google search and see what you can find about the La Petite case. I once had a copy of the settlement. It is available through the Freedom of Information Act. I had a few problems with our preschool where the director was always acting like she did me a big favor by taking dd with her epi (the director would actually tell me this that she did me a favor). So finally I got fed up, got a copy of the La Petite settlement from the Justice Department, highlighted the dollar amount of the settlement and wrote a letter to the director that she actually did not do me a favor; she did what the law required her to do. She never complained about the epi again.

Posted on: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 12:43pm
Gail W's picture
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La Petite case: [url="http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/lapetite.htm"]http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/lapetite.htm[/url]
list of legal precedents: [url="http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/002164.html"]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/002164.html[/url]
Also, the American Academy of Asthma Allergy & Immunology's position statement is clear on the subject: [url="http://www.aaaai.org/media/resources/academy_statements/position_statements/ps34.asp"]http://www.aaaai.org/media/resources/academy_statements/position_statements/ps34.asp[/url]
Quote:Originally posted by MDGCPA:
[b]They are checking with their attorney as to what "reasonable" effort is, and indicated that just calling 911 might be sufficient, and anything beyond that is not discrimination.[/b]
You have a physician letter stating that your child must be accompanied by an adult trained in the use of epi?
Also, be leary of their use of the word "reasonable".
Go here [url="http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/504faq.html"]http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/504faq.html[/url] and see how OCR distinguishes between "reasonable accommodation" and "accommodation".
[i][b]TERMINOLOGY[/b]
The following terms may be confusing and/or are frequently used incorrectly in the elementary and secondary school context.
Accommodation: a term correctly used in the context of public accommodations and facilities; an individual with a disability may not be excluded, denied services, segregated or otherwise treated differently than other individuals by a public accommodation or commercial facility; (term is not to be confused with "reasonable accommodation," discussed below)
Equal access: equal opportunity of a qualified person with a disability to participate in or benefit from educational aids, benefits, or services
Free and appropriate public education (FAPE): a term used in the elementary and secondary school context; refers to the provision of regular or special education and related aids and services that are designed to meet individual educational needs of students with disabilities as adequately as the needs of students without disabilities are met and is based upon adherence to procedures that satisfy the Section 504 requirements pertaining to educational setting, evaluation and placement, and procedural safeguards
Placement: a term used in the elementary and secondary school context; refers to regular and/or special educational program in which a student receives educational and/or related services
Reasonable accommodation: a term used in the [b]employment context*[/b] to refer to modifications or adjustments employers make to a job application process, the work environment, the manner or circumstances under which the position held or desired is customarily performed, or that enable a covered entity's employee with a disability to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment; this term is sometimes used incorrectly to refer to related aids and services in the elementary and secondary school context or to refer to academic adjustments and auxiliary aids and services in the postsecondary school context>
Related services: a term used in the elementary and secondary school context to refer to developmental, corrective, and other supportive services, including psychological, counseling and medical diagnostic services and transportation. [/i]
*bold added by me
[This message has been edited by Gail W (edited February 19, 2007).]

Posted on: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 1:03pm
Carefulmom's picture
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Joined: 01/03/2002 - 09:00

Perfect. From Gail W.`s link:
"6. The Jester, Bownds, and Carrabine Complaints allege that La Petite discriminated against children with severe allergies and their families by maintaining a policy of not administering the EpiPen, Jr. (a disposable device used to administer a pre-measured dose of epinephrine to children with severe allergies) to children in their custody who suffered severe allergic reactions. La Petite's policy at that time was to call 911 and request that Emergency Medical Services personnel be dispatched to administer the EpiPen, Jr."
And then part of the settlement agreement:
"11. La Petite hereby agrees that the document entitled "La Petite Academy, Inc. Policy for Administering Emergency Treatment to Children with Severe Allergies," attached hereto as Attachment A, has been adopted by La Petite as its policy for treating children with severe allergies, including its policy for administering epinephrine through the use of the EpiPen, Jr. La Petite further agrees not to modify the policy without the prior written consent of the Department."

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